From one character-role films to back-to-back releases as a leading man, Rajkummar Rao has come a long way and the actor says he wants to reach a point in his career where people wait to see him on the silver screen.
With Trapped, Behen Hogi Teri, Bareilly Ki Barfi and now Newton, the actor says he understands that he will need to keep working hard constantly to remain alive in the public memory.
“My plan is to do one film in two years. I know I have to have the demand. People should wait for my films to come and it’s in process,” he said, adding: “I know that I have started on that journey. But for that I have to keep pushing myself. I want to keep telling people that I’m here and I’m working.”
The actor says another reason he signed up to do these projects is because all the scripts were “exciting”.
“I just couldn’t say no to these scripts. I knew I had to push myself when it comes to dates and all physical transformation. But there was no other way,” he says.
While the film has yet to screen in the UAE, Newton has heaped critical acclaim ahead of its release in India. In the film, Rao plays Newton Kumar, a greenhorn government clerk who tries to conduct a fair election in a conflict-hit area of Chhattisgarh.
When asked if the industry has started banking on him as an artiste, the actor says although he can sense that change, he does not want to jump to any conclusion.
“It is happening but let’s wait and watch. It is too soon to say. I guess it started happening after Shahid and Kai Po Chhe.
“But it became really strong after Bareilly. Lots of directors called up after and said ‘tu to ye bhi kar leta hai humein nahi pata tha’ (We didn’t you could do this too!). They believe what they see,” he says.
Seven years and a National Award later, Rao is yet to taste the success of a blockbuster but the actor says one cannot let the want of minting money affect them as an artiste.
“It will happen when it happens. Of course, I wouldn’t mind my films to become blockbusters. But I’m not really aiming for that. I can’t work thinking that, ‘let this film be a blockbuster’. And how can I make this film into one.
“I believe everything has its destiny. Someone’s film did well and then other five didn’t. You can’t let these things affect you as an artiste. Only thing you can focus on is giving an honest performance.”
The actor says the Amit Masurkar-directed movie has intelligent humour attached to it and hopes that people will understand it.
“As we’re all claiming that cinema is changing today, I want to see how Newton does. I think it will decide how many people are there who actually support a film like this. This will be a test for me.”